You will quickly fall in love with New Brunswick’s east coast. With its maritime charm, warm Canadian hospitality, freshly caught tasty seafood, endless history, and stunning sweeping vista roads, it’s a province that simply has it all for an ultimate road trip.
New Brunswick is one of the four provinces of Atlantic Canada and also Canada’s only bilingual province.
It is located between Quebec and Nova Scotia and shares its border with the US state of Maine.
An adventure awaits around every corner along the Bay of Fundy, so take your time, get a rental car and enjoy the scenic route.
If you wish to travel to Canada, you simply have to do it in style and make a road trip out of it.
The Bay of Fundy is often referred to as the Bay of plenty as it offers visitors a lot to do over a week with many attractions along the way and is one of New Brunswick’s most popular road trip routes.
Within this road trip guide to the Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick, I will help break up each day so you can pick and choose your journey as you wish.
Here are some tips to get you started before we go into the itinerary.
How to reach New Brunswick, Canada from the UK
To reach the Bay of Fundy road trip route, best to fly into either Moncton airport or Saint John airport.
These are the two major airports that can be found in New Brunswick to reach the Bay of Fundy road trip route.
You could start in either Moncton or Saint John depending on which way you would like to go.
We started our road trip in Moncton and went down to Saint Andrew and then ended in Saint John.
To reach either of these airports from the UK, you can fly from London Heathrow or London Gatwick airport to Toronto and from there grab a connecting domestic flight to New Brunswick.
To give you an idea on flying time, if you were to fly to Halifax international airport, Nova Scotia (close by and next province along), flying time is around six hours which is not long at all.
You might be closer than you think to reaching New Brunswick.
Car rental in New Brunswick, Canada
For my road trip journey, I went with Budget car rental which had pick-up and drop off points at Saint John and Moncton airports.
We opted for a KIA Cadenza which was perfect for summer month driving in New Brunswick.
For this road trip, I teamed up with Scott from Intrepid Escape who has an international driving permit which you can sort out at your local UK Royal Mail post office.
He said the pick-up and drop off of the rental car was rather easy once you have all the correct paperwork, and it’s recommended to take out the extra insurance coverage just to be safe.
Be sure to check out his New Brunswick blog review of the trip as well.
Just a few tips for UK drivers who wish to drive in Canada.
– Remember to drive on the right side of the road. **Very important!**
– Remember to purchase a sat nav to get around the route as 3G is rather expensive in Canada and this will help you with directions. Also, you shouldn’t use your phone whilst driving.
– You can turn right when at the traffic lights, just look out for oncoming traffic before you make the turn.
– Be aware of the three-way stop system when you see the stop sign.
– You will need a Parks Canada permit to access the national parks of Canada with your car. You can pick up the permit at the information centre. The easiest location to pick it up along your road trip is in Alma, New Brunswick.
– Be aware (especially at night) that animals frequently enter the road, drive with caution.
– If you opt to take the coastal route, be aware of potholes. Roadworks are currently going on to repair them but do keep a lookout as they pop up from time to time.
– Be aware of your alcohol limit when driving in Canada, it’s different from the UK.
– Have some cash ready for tolls and parking if you wish to use them.
For data coverage, you could look at renting a 4G hotspot for your trip to Canada.
Especially if you’re travelling with someone else, it could be a cost-effective option as you can share the device.
I like to use the Skyroam Solis X and found it an affordable way to roam data in Canada.
This journey took us from Moncton to Saint John and we paid $60 (£35) Canadian dollars total for petrol costs and almost managed to do the whole route on one tank of petrol.
It’s not bad considering that we travelled the route over 8 days.
Here is our road trip guide to exploring the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick, Canada.
Start your journey in downtown Moncton
Today is arrival day, and tomorrow you will start your journey along the Bay of Fundy.
Once you’ve arrived in Moncton, why not use this day as a rest day after your transatlantic flight to get some much-needed rest before you head out on the road?
Arrive at the airport, pick up your rental car and get some rest at the Residence Inn by Marriott Moncton.
It’s a perfect location for the night with parking, friendly service and a hearty breakfast buffet.
At this point, it might be a good idea to bring along a travel mug and a water bottle for your road trip so you can enjoy your morning coffee in the car and save on waste.
Once you’ve arrived in downtown Moncton, you can walk around before sunset and grab an evening meal.
I would recommend checking out a local gastropub called Tide and Boar.
Be sure to sample some of the amazing locally crafted beers, wide selection of fresh oysters and for the brave ones, you can even try Boar Poutine for a local and unique twist on a classic Canadian dish.
For more food spots along the Bay of Fundy, I will put together a food-focused guide to accompany this road trip route.
In the morning, it’s time to head out to Hopewell Rocks, your first stop along the Bay.
It’s a good idea to stop off at Walmart supermarket and pick up some road trip supplies that you might need along the way.
You can find one in Moncton just before you reach the highway.
You simply have to stop off at Hopewell Rocks
Day one: Moncton to Hopewell Rocks. Distance: 23 miles.
Today is an easy drive to an important New Brunswick landmark, the Hopewell Rocks.
The Hopewell Rocks, also known as “The Rocks” are rock formations caused by tidal erosion. You can see them in the Hopewell Rocks Ocean Tidal Exploration Site, New Brunswick.
Formed over thousands of years ago by a glacier retreat, this location allows you to walk around and explore many formations that the area has to offer.
Why not return to Hopewell Rocks as the sun starts to set and enjoy an amazing night-sky photography excursion?
Kevin Snair who is a local park ranger and leading photographer from the area runs night-time photography tours that take you on a journey along the ocean floor to photograph the night sky.
Don’t forget to bring your camera and a hot flask of tea, you’re in for a real treat with these new night-time photography skills you will pick up.
Hotel recommendation for the night: Maplegrove Inn, with your hosts Sonya and Jeff. They can make a recommendation on dinner. This will give you an easy location to return to Hopewell Rocks once the sun has started to head down.
Don’t forget to visit Cape Enrage along the way to Alma.
Here you will find old fossils, breath-taking views of the Bay of Fundy, a 140-year-old lighthouse and, subject to tide conditions, you can see a reef that has claimed many a vessel over the last century.
If you fancy, you can also do some ziplining.
Explore Alma and Fundy National Park of Parks Canada
Day two: Hopewell Rocks to Alma. Distance: 27 miles.
Alma is a charming fishing village located along your route, and it’s the perfect spot to base yourself if you wish to explore Fundy National Park which is located just on the doorstep of the town.
Fundy National Park is part of Parks Canada and you will need to get a pass from the information centre if you wish to do some hiking.
I’d recommend starting with the Dickson Falls trail which is a nice and easy one to do after a long drive. You can walk around in a loop until you find the stunning waterfall which is well worth the walk.
To learn more about many of the endless trails you can do in Fundy National Park, be sure to pick up a map and get some advice at the information centre when you pick up your Park Canada Pass.
Alma is a fun place to stay with loads of spots worth checking out for a bite to eat. Be sure to grab a flight of beer (a Canadian flight is a selection of small beers to try) at the local brewery Holy Whale.
At one point it used to be a fully functioning church until some brothers from Prince Edward Island wanted to start a brewery and were looking for a church.
Kayak around the sea caves of St. Martins
Day Three: Alma to St. Martins. Distance: 70 miles.
Next along your journey is the cosy coastal town of St Martins. Now, it doesn’t get more local than this spot as the population is tiny, but the locals are super friendly if you manage to encounter any.
But not to worry as this is the perfect location to go sea kayaking and will take up most of your day.
I would recommend checking out Red Rock Adventure – they can put together a 2.5-hour tour for you which will cover most of the popular sea kayaking spots around St. Martins’ coast.
Paddle out into the sea caves with your kayak afloat on the world’s highest tides. Immerse yourself in the dramatic coastline of sheer red rock cliffs carved smooth to perfection over millions of years.
Your tour will allow time for some beachcombing and you will get a chance to try some delicious smoked salmon. How’s that for a pit stop?
This is a great way to explore the spectacular high tide and coastal coves that New Brunswick has to offer.
Enjoy a scenic drive along the Fundy Trail Parkway
Today is the longest driving day along the route – I’d suggest waking up early and making a day of the drive.
St. Andrews doesn’t have a domestic airport, and this is why I’d recommend driving through Saint John for now and leaving this city as your final destination which saves you from having to go back and forth.
Day Four: St. Martins to St. Andrews – driving distance: 99 miles.
Before you leave St. Martins, do not miss out on the scenic drive of the Fundy Trail Parkway which offers a stunning vista filled day. For us, it was one of the highlight drives of the whole trip. You will mostly cover stunning coastline along the drive.
Do bear in mind that the park has different opening and closing times throughout the year and requires an entrance fee. Make sure you check the weather report on the day to see if it’s worth doing in the morning or evening. If you’re staying overnight in St. Martins, then the morning could be your best bet.
My travel tip would be to head to the entrance at the time of opening (which was 09:00 am for us) and then try to complete the whole drive all in one go. The park only has one entrance so you will have to go back at some point.
This way you will pretty much have the whole park to yourself until you start to make your way back as visitors tend to stop at the first point of interest rather than the last.
Mornings are also a good time for light, and fingers crossed you get some good weather on the day.
A long drive to St. Andrews By-The-Sea
From St. Andrews, you can see the US state of Maine from a distance, and this is the furthest point you can go along the Bay of Fundy within Canada.
If you want to go whale watching in Canada, St. Andrews is your best bet, especially if you arrive in the right season.
We went out to the waters of the Passamaquoddy Bay to enjoy some top-class whale watching with the folks over at Fundy Tide Runners who took us out on a rib boat.
Unfortunately, we were out of luck on our trip and arrived too early in the season, but we did hear that if you get the timing right, you’re normally in for a fantastic show of whales.
We did see loads of lobster boats as it was the lobster season and it was nice to experience the maritime lifestyle out at sea, which Atlantic Canada is so famous for.
If you’re looking for a spot to eat or want to enjoy some live entertainment with some locals in St. Andrews, we can highly recommend the wonderful hospitality over at the Red Herring Pub that put on a good show late into the night.
You could easily spend three days in St. Andrews, but two nights and three days can also be enough to get a taste of what’s in the area.
Especially because you want to leave some time for Saint John which is not to be missed.
For our road trip we used St. Andrews as a base for a few days to visit Ministers Island, Campobello Island and a spot of whale watching.
We also explored the town a bit before heading off to our final destination, Saint John. A lot of driving was needed in the last few days of this trip.
Accommodation recommendation: The Algonquin Resort has recently gone under renovation and has been serving guests at its location since 1889. It’s the perfect location to be based during your stay in St. Andrews, New Brunswick.
Head on over to Ministers Island
To access the Ministers Island by car, you must wait for the low tide. Otherwise, the only access road to the island is underwater.
Now, isn’t that an experience! The tide changes throughout the year so best to find the tide times on the day.
We could access the island between 07:30 and 13:00 which gave us enough time to explore there for half a day.
This timing of the tide does change and will depend on when you visit.
If the tide comes back, you simply have to wait until it goes again, so make sure you keep an eye on the time or you could be on the island longer than expected.
For those that love a brisk walk, you can easily walk around the whole coast of the island in a few hours which I would highly recommend, and the paths are easy and scenic at the same time.
The main attraction on Ministers Island is the former summer home of the Canadian Pacific’s Sir William Cornelius Van Horne who created most of the railway network in Canada.
Best to take a brief guided tour to learn more about this well-preserved house and about Van Horne’s life and interesting habits.
Take a boat over to Campobello Island
Fun fact: you can’t access Campobello Island from Canada by road as the only road bridge on the island takes you to the US state of Maine.
Sure, you can drive to the island, but you would have to go through a US border control first, even though the island is part of Canada.
So, the best way to access the island is to simply take a boat from St. Andrews. Leave the car behind and avoid having to cross through multiple borders.
The main attraction on the beautiful island is the summer home of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s family.
I’d recommend booking the local tour guide Peter to show you around the Campobello Island on a 2.5-hour tour. On this tour, you will learn more about the Roosevelt family and the residents of the island today.
The island is also a fantastic whale watching viewpoint if you happen to be around at the right time.
Highlights would be checking out the picturesque lighthouse and maybe enjoying some of the trails.
The Roosevelt cottage is also a great spot to have lunch during your visit, and it’s close to the transfer boat point back to St. Andrew’s.
Spend some time in the city of Saint John, New Brunswick
Day Seven: St. Andrews to Saint John – driving distance: 60 miles.
Saint John (not to be confused with St. John’s, Newfoundland) is one of the biggest cities in New Brunswick that you will find along this road trip route, and it’s worth stopping off at for a couple of days.
The city is known for the Reversing Rapids and food and craft stalls that can be found in the city market (the building has been in operation since 1876).
In recent years, Saint John has slowly become a vibrant city with new development projects and hype restaurants, cafes and breweries popping up.
Park up the car for the rest of the day as Saint John has an incredible nightlife and craft beer scene worth exploring around the uptown area.
Why not forget about your map reading for one night and take the hassle-free route by going on an organised brewery tour with a local guide?
I’d recommend Uncorked Tours which is put together by Gillian, a local guide who is crammed full of information about the city and is a perfect host to show you around. Saint John has an awesome craft beer scene best explored on foot.
Moosehead is the locally brewed tipple in Saint John, and the Moosehead Breweries has an incredible selection of craft beer and local snacks to choose from. Head to the Moosehead Breweries alehouse which is the start of your brewery tour.
I have a lot to cover about Saint John so I’ve put together a Saint John city guide for you to enjoy.
The last and final day of your road trip.
Before you fly off back home, be sure to explore the city of Saint John for half a day as there is lot to do in the city in the daytime.
Accommodation recommendation: Hilton Saint John is a great hotel to be based in during your stay in Saint John with a perfect central location and most rooms having a stunning view over the river.
On your last day, driving distance to Saint John airport from Saint John city is around 30 minutes so make sure you allow enough time to drop off and fuel up your rental car. Have a wonderful flight home.
Thank you for reading my road trip guide to New Brunswick
I appreciate you coming by and visiting my blog post and reading about my experience going on a road trip across the Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick.
I hope you found all the above information both helpful and useful.
If you haven’t found what you’re looking for or wish to offer feedback, do send me an email and let me know how I can help.
I would also love to hear how you got on with the trip and feel free to let me know over on Twitter.
Wishing you a wonderful road trip around this unique part of Atlantic Canada.